Arsène Wenger believes the balance of power in the Premier League is more even ahead of the new season.
Manchester City won the title in May but the top four was separated by just seven points with Arsenal clinching the final Champions League spot having led for much of the league campaign.
Wenger has already bolstered his squad significantly this summer with Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, David Ospina and Calum Chambers, and Arsenal have moved on from the years when they had to absorb the loss of star names like Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie.
"I would say that the balance of power is a bit more even than it was five or six years ago, in the Premier League," said Wenger. "That's because of Financial Fair Play, added to us having more financial power than five years ago, that gives us a better chance.
"In the last two seasons that [losing key players] has changed, because we had the financial power to do it, but the seasons before we could not. I was sitting here and thinking 'who will go next?'
"But we managed to get in a better position. It's a vicious circle, Once you get great players in, everybody wants to stay. But it goes the other way as well. You see the case at Southampton. Would Schneiderlin want to go if everybody had stayed? That's the problem. It's a vicious circle on both sides."
Wenger knew the challenges that faced him when he committed his future to the club at the turn of the decade and he is proud of Arsenal's consistency in that period.
"I never made any excuses," he recalled. "I took it on my shoulders. But I knew the situation. I accepted the challenge when I signed my contract, knowing what would happen.
"I thought, personally, that it was the most sensitive and important period of my career here. I knew it would be that from the start but, as well, it was exciting, to manage to keep the club at the top level with fewer resources.
"Did we do well or not? The only thing I can say is that we were consistent at the top level. But we lacked the quality to really win [the title].
"The only thing I can assure you is that I gave absolutely everything to do as well as I could. Was it enough? I don’t know. Could somebody have done better? You never know.
"My motivation was never at stake and I never questioned that. I always wanted to stay. But as well I wanted to feel that I had done a good job. We have done something, we won the FA Cup, but we want to win more and come back and fight for more."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source